It’s official, people. Today has found its new co-anchor to replace the recently axed Matt Lauer: Hoda Kotb.
The 53-year-old longtime NBC News correspondent who has been co-host of Today‘s popular fourth hour with Kathie Lee Gifford stepped in back in November to fill Lauer’s spot temporarily. But it’s safe to say that she made quite the impression with viewers in the co-anchor desk, because on Tuesday’s broadcast, the news of her new post at the morning program was made official in an announcement by co-host Savannah Guthrie.
“We are kicking off the year right, because Hoda is officially the co-anchor of ‘Today,’” Guthrie said. “This has to be the most popular decision NBC News has ever made, and I am so thrilled.”
But no one could be more thrilled than Kotb, who responded, “I am pinching myself.”
Lauer was ousted late last year after more than 20 years with the network because of allegations of inappropriate behavior. According to PEOPLE, he was both accused of having an affair that violated his contract, as well as claims of sexual harassment.
As for Kotb, she’s kicking off 2018 in epic fashion. The new mom of daughter Haley Joy whom she adopted in February, is taking over the anchor desk, but will continue to co-host Today With Kathie Lee Hoda at 10 a.m. (EST). It might be an unexpected choice to some, but Gifford says Kotb is the perfect fit.
“I cant think about a more beloved person than Hoda at the show,” Gifford said to PEOPLE. “Everybody universally adores her. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She’s more loving and kind, so when these wonderful things started happening for this wonderful woman, we were thrilled for her.”